The New Jersey Nets old-timers can pop the celebratory champagne! Their record streak is still intact after Philadelphia’s big win last night (on the road none the less. Ouch Minny….). With that win out of the way, the Sixers can now set their sights on grander futility, setting a new record for fewest wins in an NBA season.
In more relevant NBA-happenings, it is always fun to talk about who is the best team in the NBA, especially at the overly-premature junction of pre-Christmas. But the Rockets made an interesting statement last night with an 11-point win over Memphis (despite an 11-point fourth quarter). They are currently third in the West at 14-4, but with a win over Memphis and two of their losses coming without Dwight Howard, is it possible the Rockets could be a legit Finals contender?
It’s a limited slate of action, with the NBA’s TNT games taking center stage and highlighted by the fantastic nightcap between the Warriors and Pelicans. The Warriors have been the best team in the NBA to this point and can make another resounding case for supremacy tonight. But the best reason to tune in is Anthony Davis. Unless you have League Pass, you don’t get to see him often enough, so enjoy it tonight.
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New Orleans Pelicans vs. Golden State Warriors -8.5 (Total: 206.5)
This game is going to be a treat to watch, but I think it’ll be a tough task for the Pelicans to go into Oakland and win. Golden State has the largest point differential in the NBA at exactly 10 points per game. That’s a preposterous margin, especially for a team most people picked between 5th and 7th in the Western Conference. They are doing it with defense as much as their vaunted offense. Curry and Thompson have defended much better than their reputations merit, and Iguodala and Bogut have always been exceptional.
Meanwhile, the Pelicans are good but at times it feels like they are only good by the sheer brilliance of Anthony Davis. It reminds me a little bit of Cavs team LeBron took to the Finals; obviously they play a different style and different positions, but the “all on his shoulders” aspect still applies.
All that said, I am not willing to swallow nine points tonight. It’s too big a number and opens up all kind of late-game garbage time scenarios. I’ve lost on two backdoor covers this week and this game has that sneaky feel to it to me. Instead, I like the opposite direction of the public money and to back the UNDER. Both teams are good defensively, and I think the Pelicans wings will have some trouble scoring tonight. I like this game to settle in right around 200, giving us a little room to spare. The total has stayed UNDER in these team’s last five meetings and only one time has an individual team tallied more than 103 points.